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Archive for February, 2009

Where did everybody go?

February 20th, 2009 at 08:11 am

Boy a lot of people I used to follow don't post anymore. When I went looking for one of the people to see if I had just missed their posts lately, I discovered I was number 37 for most entries :O

That seems very wrong. We used to have alot of prolific writers and quite a few have seemed to fade away. I understand that not everyone sticks with this forever but I really haven't been here that long.

Obviously I am far too chatty. :P

Equally obvious, I need to actually use the favorites to keep track of blogs.

So calling all bloggers who haven't updated in awhile, what have you been doing?

DH got a new job already!

February 19th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

and he hasn't even left the old place (gave 2 week notice on Monday). He has about 2 weeks he will have off between jobs so that will be nice.

I guess I was right not to go into complete lock down when he put his notice in, this won't even slow down our income thanks to vacation time he has accumulated.

So same budget, little extra money. Very nice.

Another one bites the dust

February 17th, 2009 at 09:04 am

Paid off the credit card that bought our couch today. Its so weird to be back to paying multiple cards off. It was 0% interest but was small so worth paying off to avoid the hassle.

Technically we have 4 cards with balances now, none of them charging interest, but 2 are about to become 1 and the other 2 are going to be paid off as soon as possible (depends on when hubby gets a job).

Fortunately, DH has accumulated an additional 110 hours of pto so at his current hour rate, almost a month of pay.

This means that even if he doesn't get a job immediately, the debt won't be increasing and will keep going down despite living on one income. Something very comforting about that.

We are still moving ahead with all of the repairs we have scheduled, its just easier to get them done now and we aren't in any danger of being unable to pay for things.

I have to say, I am very grateful that we have always kept expenses down. We may have overdone the splurging in the past but we never locked ourselves into a position we couldn't get out of.

Oh and an update on my frugal month. We have done very well. The 25th of this month is when it ends and we still have $50 of food money, 1/3 of our gas money and due to a weird billing choice, $70 left of utility money. This means we spent less than half of what we spent last month on food and we even did the same for spending on the house.

Since I am a big fan of gradual reductions since otherwise I freak out and overindulge, I am extremely pleased at how easy it was to cut back down. I still need to cut some more, but baby steps work best for me and that was one heck of a baby step.

Switching to the indefinite budget

February 16th, 2009 at 11:36 am

My DH turned in his 2 week notice so hopefully no more nightmares and our stress level should go down. This also means (since he doesn't have a firm job offer in hand) that I am switching to cash preservation until he has a new job.

I am actually going to do it in two stages. He has 3 potential contract jobs through headhunters starting March 1 so until that date passes with no job in hand, I will keep contributing to my Roth IRA. If none of those pan out, I will turn the contributions off and switch to a full bare bones budget to keep the debt at a minimum. At that level, we can last indefinitely which is handy in today's economy.

Now you all know why I wanted a cheap mortgage :P

He has a job interview this Wednesday and another one will be probably be scheduled for this week as well (another reason its easier to quit now, employer's get cranky when you start needing multiple days off at the last minute).

I am actually surprised at the number of job openings in his field. You would think that with all the layoffs in the mortgage industry there wouldn't be so many new openings.

I will keep you updated as things occur but I will probably be a bit quieter than usual till I know where we are finally at.

Hmmm....can we cut out one of those items?

February 12th, 2009 at 09:42 am

Got the bid from the handyman and it was a little high for our comfort (not that he's overcharging, I just think we underestimated the amount of time involved). Asked him to rebid without the attic to see if that will get it low enough.

If the second bid is low enough, we will have him fix all the ventilation in the house so that will finally be finished.

So we have already spent over 10k on this house and that is before hiring anyone to do work. Wow. I knew it would add up, I just didn't think we would have all this accomplished this soon.

Unfortunately this cuts into our reserves. I hate pushing things this tight but we need that ventilation finished.

On a positive note, the Sears Card is being paid in full so now we actually own all of our appliances. :P I still haven't decided whether to pay the couch off in full this month or next but I think March might be safer cashflow wise.

We would have had enough by my earlier calculations but DH isn't very good at estimating debt and has twice underestimated his cards by nearly $200. As a result, he is getting rid of all the cards from his wallet except our main paid in full credit card which I can always see online.

Originally we were going to pass the budget over to him when things calmed down to help him learn budgeting a bit better but he really has no interest so I am going to keep control of the budget. Its kind of weird because he doesn't really like to buy himself a lot so you would think that he would be better with the budgeting then the person who likes to buy things but it doesn't work that way. Because I have always had things I wanted to buy, I have always done calculations to see when I can afford things. He just buys when he wants to buy but then has buyer's remorse.

Who would have thought that the spender in the relationship would be better at budgeting? My big issue with budgeting is that he doesn't really want or need an allowance but he does need splurge money for when he finally does decide he wants something. I need an allowance.

Right now I am feeling guilty because what he wants is a rather expensive trike and we would need to get 2 so we could ride together but we really can't afford it this year. He's okay with that but originally he was supposed to get it this year. We both agreed house repairs needed to come first. I need to come up with someway that his wants don't get backburnered like that ever again because its not fair for me to be able to get things and him not to.

Anyways, I am just thinking out loud at the moment and I am sure I will come up with some way to get them this year, I just need to play with the numbers and pray he gets a new job sometime soon.

Calmer today and little updates

February 11th, 2009 at 10:02 am

Mainly because I was never one of those persons that could maintain their stress level. I have also come to the conclusion that we will deal with things as they come since I can't predict the future.

Had the handyman come take a look at our projects, he will have a bid to me today so at least we will get everything vital fixed soon.

Spoke with my friend who I helped to get established out here. Haven't chatted in about 1 month because I have been missing in action and she has been busy. She is doing well and has almost paid off her second credit card. Very proud of her.

Waiting for my Wamu now Chase statement to arrive. Need it for my credit card number so I can transfer the balance to a 0% till October deal. This will also get me down to just one card. This will be my first time since I ran up the debt that it would all fit on once card.

I am still on budget this month which is amazing given how nuts we had gone the past 3 months. Maybe getting back to a normal budget won't be so hard after all.

We are still spending copious amounts on the house though. Not as much as in the past but between the mortar guy and the handyman, there is another couple k to spend just this month. Fortunately that should finish off the majority of the house. Unfortunately, we still have yardwork ahead of us and that is not cheap.

We still need to clean out the old apartment, its practically a joke at this point because we have been putting it off for so long. Will probably work on it a bit this weekend.

Need to remember sometime this weekend to breathe. Our weekends of work are killing us.

Oh, still keeping up on the running. Its been working well. We are running the majority of the time now. Finally heard my husband panting at the end of the last run burst last night so I know he is getting a workout as well.

The pugs are doing well. Spencer is still the hyper one and probably always will be but he is learning quickly what is expected of him so its been a smooth transition. Its weird having an animal testing boundaries again though, lol.

DH knows someone at the place he is interviewing with so he is going to ask her to use her influence to help him get the new job. They are former coworkers so he knows she will be an enthusiastic reference (one of his coworkers gave him the number so he could harass her).

All and all, just plugging along, waiting for all the news to break.

No wonder its bi-monthly billing

February 10th, 2009 at 11:02 am

Finally got my first full water and sewer bill. It was $25 for 60 days. Come to find out our average gallon per day per person was 33 gallons. Not bad. I agree with their assessment though that water usage goes up in the summer. Even though we plan to plant low water plants, we still have to water for the initial planting and we will wash the car at home once its warm enough that I can't justify the car wash.

However I consider this excellent news because I was budgeting $100 for 60 days. Obviously their set up fees are far more expensive than their water fees since my first (partial) bill was $50.



Bracing...

February 9th, 2009 at 03:11 pm

DH is starting to sound like I did the week before I quit my job (3 years ago, not a recent thing). I keep crunching the numbers to see how I can keep the damage to a minimum. Hopefully Tuesday brings good news on the job interview he had.

Its complicated because on one hand, if I know this is going to be a long term unemployment, I would stop all the retirement savings and drop to minimum payments on the debt. On the other hand, since I don't know, I am still keeping those up.

The debt repayment isn't really a big deal since I can always run the debt back up if I had to in a worse case scenario. Retirement savings are a bigger deal since they can't be accessed once paid out. This right here is why I eventually want to have an EF that covers a year of salary. Unfortunately, we haven't reached that point yet.

Without adjusting the budget, I can make it out til June 1st. But if I adjusted the budget immediately, we could make it another 3 months. Grrr, so hard to predict.

Course, the reality is that we could technically go indefinitely without his income, we just would have no retirement savings, no debt repayment (just minimums) and no fun. But I really shouldn't be complaining because at least we could survive. There is a lot of people who can't. Doesn't make this situation any less stressful though...

So much for a frugal month...

February 9th, 2009 at 10:07 am

I haven't blown the budget yet but another weekend like the last and I will. We definitely are trying to finish up the major jobs on the house this month so house repairs are still sucking up a lot of money.

On a positive note, we managed to get our new countertop installed and the spot for the sink carved out. Next time I have to buy a kitchen sink (should be never, but who knows) I will make sure it doesn't have weird notches in the underside that stick out. Why on earth would I need to clamp a granite composite sink into place? Haven't they heard of silicon which I have to use anyways to seal the edge? Because of the "custom" fit, that sink can't so much as move a millimeter, lol.

Tonight we will finish screwing in the hardware and securing the countertop. Probably next weekend I will fix the wall around the countertop (think plaster and paint, they badly abused the wall for no good reason). Once its all finished, I will post before and after photos.

I think next weekend though I will take more time to relax. This working on all weekend on the house is beginning to get old. We need down time...

February Game Plan

February 6th, 2009 at 01:45 pm

Budget

Savings $75
Roth IRA $300 (raised from $200)
Student Loan $194
Car Insurance $65
CC#1 $100
CC#2 $1000
Electric/gas $150
PITI $1288
TV/Internet $86
Gas $100
Food $600 (all together and far less)
Phone $70
Water $50
Misc Items $100

This is based on my salary and DH's projected income if he gets the job he is looking at or another one at the same level. It gives me something to work with anyways. I also have a budget (not bare bones) that we will default to if he ends up with no income. The current EF level would let us live on that budget for about 7 months.

The nice thing about the above budget is that it doesn't cut into the EF but does allow us to pay off the credit cards by October. This probably means no new windows until next year but such is life. Everything else at least will have been taken care of on the house so that is minor.

Just got the first refund.

February 6th, 2009 at 08:05 am

and probably the last one I will ever get from the federal government, lol. So payment in full for our couch, our appliances and our kitchen stuff which was all on 0% interest credit cards.

Once that is done, we will have about $2700 to add to the EF fund and 2 last credit cards with approximately ~9k. It amazes me that I am having a hard time paying off the last 10k of debt. Its almost like having gotten this close, we just want to spend. I am sure the purchase of a house at this juncture had nothing to do with that difficulty. :P

DH wants us each to have the ability to spend $150 so that we don't feel deprived. Is it sad that I am just going to count mine towards the cost of the handyman who is going to fix things for me? I just want the odd jobs done and we seem to be getting further and further behind (maybe because we keep adding projects, lol).

DH though should at minimum buy himself a charcoal grill because he has been wanting one ever since we moved into an apartment complex that wouldn't let us have one (used to own one).

Pictures of my pugs

February 5th, 2009 at 07:13 am

Ok, as promised, here are some pictures of my pugs. The fawn is the newly adopted (previously mauled) pug and the black is our sweety that we have had for close to three years.





Aren't they just adorable? The black one follows the fawn one around everywhere and they are constantly playing in between naps.

Still on track

February 4th, 2009 at 07:04 am

So my frugal month (started 1/26) is going well despite the fact that we ate out a lot with the acquisition of a new pug and with my DH having a job interview on Monday night. Weekends are still our major spend time but we haven't needed as much groceries so that helps to offset the expense.

Course what will be really interesting is that we are going to have a half of our week off fall in our frugal month so I can imagine how that will turn out. During our week off we will be getting some tuckpointing (mortar repair) done on our home which we have been quoted $475 for (hurray, thought it would be worse) and we need to finish up the apartment and the kitchen. Ah the joys of home ownership. Its a good thing we enjoy this stuff.

Oh, on a very positive note, we paid our last rent payment this weekend so now it will just be the last couple of utility payments.

Busy weekend

February 2nd, 2009 at 07:46 am

On Saturday, we met with a coworker of DH's to introduce our two pugs. The coworker's pug had been mauled by another of their pugs about a year ago and ever since they have had to keep all the pugs mostly crated to avoid a repeat.

DH and I had already discussed the possibility of adopting said mauled pug if things went well (we were going to dogsit the mauled one while they went on vacation). But we obviously hadn't been the only one thinking about it. Coworker brought it up when we were walking them together. She admired how well trained our pug was and how well both pugs got along. Mauled pug had issues with other dogs for obvious reasons, hence this get to know each other visit before the vacation.

Visit goes so well that she asks if we would mind keeping him for the night. They are currently moving into a new house and would have had to crate them if mauled pug was around. We keep him and the next day she checks in with us and we tell her he can just permanently stay if she wants. So she will be calling tonight to discuss things but said she can't think of a better home for him.

So we now have 2 pugs. The mauled pug has managed in that time to teach our pug to make noise when they play and our pug has taught the mauled pug how to box. Its hilarious. Mauled pug is a natural dominant which is what probably caused the mauling by the other dominant but our pug is the ultimate submissive so our pug just follows where the other one leads.

The two areas that need work are learning to walk on a leash and learning to share toys. Both are progressing very well. Helps that he thinks that humans are the center of the universe. The toys are partially helped by the fact that our pug won't try and fight him for it but backs away if he gets the least cranky about it. So he is learning just from our pug that he doesn't have to fight for anything. Long ago when I had a wolf hybrid and a lab mutt, we had a much harder time teaching share than this.

On Sunday, DH got called by a headhunter and asked to do an interview for a full time contract position of 6-9 months. Its an excellent opportunity for DH and he has the interview tonight.

We even managed to go and collect some more stuff from the old apartment. Wow, I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.